Furniture Periods & British Monarchs

- Bold refers to Charlecote Specialty Periods

- Select a Specialty Period to learn more about relevant pieces

Period Definitions

The age of British antiques is often stated by reference to the British Monarch ruling at the time it was made. Furniture styles can be determined by careful study and remembering what design elements each one embraces. To help understand what defines each period.  The following list shows the dates for each period.

CHARLES I PERIOD       (1625 - 1649)

Furniture from this period is usually constructed in oak and is decorated with bold carving and geometric inlay.  Materials typically used during this period included oak, pine

British Monarchs

Charles Ist  1625-1649

JACOBEAN PERIOD       (1650 - 1670)

The majority of pieces are made out of oak but gold and silver embellishments, leather, and velvet.   Most joints are dowelled and drawers typically have side runners.

British Monarchs

Commonwealth  1649-1659

Charles II  1660-1685

CAROLEAN PERIOD       (1670 - 1690)

Their method of construction is transitional between jointed and nailed construction.  Oak was still the main wood being used during this period but walnut veneers were being introduced at the end of the period.

British Monarchs

Charles II 1660-1685

James II  1685-1688

WILLIAM AND MARY       (1688 - 1702)

This period sees a more elaborate style of English antique furniture. The cabinet-makers that came to England with the royal court introduced an increased use of inlays and the display of the wood’s graining to flamboyant effect.  Woods tend to be walnut and construction using bun feet  One type of decoration that began in the William and Mary period and extends through to Queen Anne and Chippendale is known as “japanning,” referring to a lacquering process that combines ashes and varnish.

British Monarchs

James II  1685-1688

William III  1689-1702

Mary II  1689-1694

QUEEN ANNE PERIOD (1702 - 1714)

Typical features of this period are feather banding, ovolo mouldings to the drawer fronts and elongated bracket feet. Walnut was still the choice of wood during this period.

British Monarch

Anne  1702-1714

GEORGE I      (1714 - 1727)

Pieces from this period are still largely made from walnut but there is an increased use of carved ornamentation.  Mahogany was being introduced during this period.


British Monarch

George I 

GEORGE II (1727 - 1760)

The George II period saw the end of walnut due to the severe frieze across Europe in 1732 and the full introduction of mahogany became the wood of choice as a favored wood for fashionable furniture.  Oak , ash, elm, and beech were used during this period The earliest mahogany furniture has a remarkably straight grain and masculine proportions. The finest George II furniture is beautifully carved with claw and ball feet and lion masks to the knee.

British Monarch

George II  1727-1760

GEORGIAN PERIOD (1750 - 1830)

The Georgian period saw English furniture design reach its apogee with the celebrated designers Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite and Thomas Sheraton creating some of the finest pieces of English antique furniture.

English cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale was a master designer who achieved worldwide fame and Chippendale furniture became one of the outstanding styles of the 18th century. Early pieces have cabriole legs with ball and class feet. Furniture was extremely well built and many pieces have remained in excellent condition and can still command a high price today. Generally only the finest fabrics were used for the upholstery and were rich and strong in colour although in later years they became more subtle.

Thomas Chippendale wrote a book of furniture designs, Gentlemen and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, published in 1754, 1755 and 1762. This book gave cabinetmakers real direction and they soon eagerly copied the styles presented.

Styles were characterized by rich carvings including swirls, leaves and sometimes shells. The popularity of oriental design in Europe prompted Chippendale to use oriental motifs on elaborately decorated lacquered furniture

Chinoiserie “Japanning” became a big part of the period (1750 - 1765) Influenced by the importation of Chinese porcelain, silk and lacquer, this style featured fantastic landscapes with fanciful pavilions and birds. Chinese figures appeared frequently. Dragons were a common motif, as were pagodas.   Other key designers included: Hubert Gravelot, Giles Greendy, and Thomas Johnson.

Thomas Chippendale

Adams Furniture

Hepplewhite Furniture

Sheraton Furniture


British Monarchs

George III  1760 - 1820

George IV  1820 - 1830

REGENCY PERIOD (1800 - 1835)

The leading furniture designers and makers of the Regency period were Gillows of Lancaster and London, Thomas Hope, George Bullock and George Smith. The period is typified using robust Neo-classicism with favorite motifs including lotus leaves, anthemion's, turned reeded legs and sabre legs.  Mahogany was still used by most furniture makers and brass was used for decoration with rosewood and zebrawood veneers used for a striking look. French polishing came into vogue around 1810 and allowed for smoother, shiner finishes.    

British Monarchs

George III  1760 - 1820

George IV  1820 - 1830

The furniture of this period is a more robust and chunkier version of the furniture made in the Regency period.

British Monarch

William IV  1830 - 1837

VICTORIAN PERIOD (1837 - 1901)

Early Victorian furniture followed the Regency trend of curved backs and some scrolled decorations. However, the clean Grecian lines of the Regency period were out of favor by 1835 when everyone wanted furniture that was showier with plenty of curves.

British Monarch

Queen Victoria  1837-1901

Contact Us for More Information

Join the Charlecote Newsletter